Saturday will be the final send-off for 16 seniors at Kroger Field. The game against Middle Tennessee State will serve as a celebration, especially if and when the Cats snap a two-game losing streak, the first losing streak of the season.
The last two weeks of football have been disheartening, to say the least. Still, Stoops won’t let the seniors’ accomplishments get overlooked by a bump in the road.
During the head coach’s weekly press conference, the Courier Journal’s Jon Hale asked Stoops, “The senior class that’s playing in their last home game on Saturday is going to go out with as many wins as any Kentucky senior class in a long time. What has that group meant to your program?”
Stoops responded: “I appreciate that Jon. I’d like you to rephrase that a little bit louder so everybody can hear that.”
It was not just a tongue in cheek remark. Stoops made Hale say it louder so the folks in the back could hear that this group of seniors has won more SEC games over the last three years than any team in the history of University of Kentucky football.
“The most in school history as far as SEC victories. I think they deserve a little credit for that. I think we all, I’m the first one, you always want to hang onto things. What can you do better? That’s what drives us everyday, it’s what drives me everyday and that’s what I wanna do. But I also wanna give recognition to that senior class, what they’ve done and what they’ve meant to this program and how much I greatly appreciate them and I think the Big Blue Nation appreciates them. They will, it’s a fact; over the last three years they’ve won the most SEC games as anybody in the history of this school. That’s a long time folks. I appreciate what they’ve done.”
Kentucky has won 13 SEC games in the three-year span, largely thanks to contributions from the senior class. This season has been an historic success, even with the recent shortcomings, ones that will not be overlooked as they prepare for MTSU.
“That can’t happen, it’s in excusable and we need to do a better job. With that being said, it’s one game. We have to move on and prepare for a victory this week,” Stoop said. “It doesn’t diminish all the good things our team has done throughout this year.”
If the Cats can move past the Tennessee loss and finish the season with two more wins, it will be the most by a Kentucky team in 41 years. That’s incredible. Don’t forget that (or Stoops will send you a reminder).